Motorsports Mondial

Jensen Button tops the time sheets in Melbourne.

FIA not happy with stepped nose on F1 cars.

Charlie Whiting: “It will doubtless be discussed ahead of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. “In 2014, the rules will be entirely different and there will be much, much lower noses so that problem will disappear in 2014 I imagine.

“But of course I will raise the question [for 2013] with the TWG [Technical Working Group] when we next meet. Everybody would like to see something nicer.

there may have been more appetite to change the noses even last year if people had realised just how widespread the noses would be.

At that point I don’t think anyone outside of the very small group of designers that were designing the cars knew what the cars might look like,” he said. “It was pointed out that there could be a bit of a step there, as it was put, but frankly it didn’t seem important for us to get excited about.

Hopefully we can resolve the situation, but by the time we do everyone will have got used to what we have got anyway.”

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
 1.  Jenson Button         McLaren-Mercedes       1m27.560s            11
 2.  Lewis Hamilton        McLaren-Mercedes       1m27.805s  + 0.245   14
 3.  Michael Schumacher    Mercedes               1m28.235s  + 0.675   17
 4.  Fernando Alonso       Ferrari                1m28.360s  + 0.800   21
 5.  Mark Webber           Red Bull-Renault       1m28.467s  + 0.907   21
 6.  Nico Rosberg          Mercedes               1m28.683s  + 1.123   22
 7.  Daniel Ricciardo      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m28.908s  + 1.348   23
 8.  Pastor Maldonado      Williams-Renault       1m29.415s  + 1.855   16
 9.  Kimi Raikkonen        Lotus-Renault          1m29.565s  + 2.005    8
10.  Kamui Kobayashi       Sauber-Ferrari         1m29.722s  + 2.162   26
11.  Sebastian Vettel      Red Bull-Renault       1m29.790s  + 2.230   21
12.  Nico Hulkenberg       Force India-Mercedes   1m29.865s  + 2.305   17
13.  Paul di Resta         Force India-Mercedes   1m29.881s  + 2.321   18
14.  Bruno Senna           Williams-Renault       1m29.953s  + 2.393   21
15.  Sergio Perez          Sauber-Ferrari         1m30.124s  + 2.564   22
16.  Romain Grosjean       Lotus-Renault          1m30.515s  + 2.955   16
17.  Heikki Kovalainen     Caterham-Renault       1m30.586s  + 3.026   16
18.  Felipe Massa          Ferrari                1m30.743s  + 3.183   11
19.  Jean-Eric Vergne      Toro Rosso-Ferrari     1m31.178s  + 3.618   17
20.  Vitaly Petrov         Caterham-Renault       1m31.983s  + 4.423    8
21.  Timo Glock            Marussia-Cosworth      1m34.730s  + 7.170    8
22.  Charles Pic           Marussia-Cosworth      1m40.256s  + 12.696  11
23.  Narain Karthikeyan    HRT-Cosworth           no time               3
24.  Pedro de la Rosa      HRT-Cosworth           no time               0

Frijns masters new FR 3.5 to set best time

Over the last two days, the new Formula Renault 3.5 has captivated teams, drivers and onlooking spectators alike at the Paul Ricard circuit. The teams may still be getting to know their new cars, but their lap times are already extremely impressive. Robin Frijns (Fortec Motorsports) was the fastest man after the two days of testing, and shaved more than four seconds off the lap record set by the old Formula Renault 3.5.

After a highly productive first day of collective testing, the 26 drivers competing in this season’s Formula Renault 3.5 Series returned to the track at Paul Ricard today to pick up from where they left off. While yesterday was largely about getting to know the new car, today’s sessions saw the teams really get down to business with their development programmes.

The teams and drivers took their performances up a level in the early stages of the morning session, and P1 Motorsport pair Daniil Move and Walter Grubmuller were the first to clock laps of less than 1,47. However, an hour into the session, Fortec Motorsports decided to fit Robin Frijns and Carlos Huertas with new tyres, and the two drivers took full advantage to grab first and second place on the timesheets. Frijns took top spot with a brilliant lap of 1,45.667, beating by more than four seconds the old track record of 1,49.901 set by Robert Wickens in March 2011.

Each of the teams experimented with different set-ups as they sought to get the best out of the new Formula Renault 3.5, with many driving on full fuel tanks. But it was Frijns who held on to finish the session on top, ahead of team-mate Huertas, DAMS driver Artur Pic, P1 Motorsport’s Grubmuller and Sam Bird of ISR.

A number of drivers went on long runs in the afternoon session, notably Jules Bianchi (Tech 1 Racing) and Richie Stanaway (Lotus), while Bird had to leave the action to travel to Australia for the Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne. The final fifteen minutes of the day felt more like a qualifying session, and once the drivers had switched to fresh tyres, the fastest lap times just kept on tumbling. Bianchi put in the best performance with a flying lap of 1,45.669, but came up just two thousandths of a second short of Frijns’s benchmark lap from the morning session. It was Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 champion Frijns, then, who left Paul Ricard with the best time, just fractionally ahead of Sahara Force India F1 Team reserve driver Bianchi.

Robin Frijns: “Yesterday, after a brief introduction, we started by testing the spoilers, which immediately proved to be very effective. We set off quite early this morning on fresh tyres, and we took advantage of the clear track to do the best we could. After the first few laps I felt comfortable in this car, which is perfectly suited to my driving style. We also drove with a lot of fuel in the car to get an idea of its behaviour in different situations. We’ll analyse all the data and test other methods in Barcelona.”

Jules Bianchi: “Everyone’s first objective was to get used to the new car. It was also my first real session working with Tech 1 Racing, so it was important for us all to get started together. There’s a big development programme scheduled before the start of the season. Compared to the cars I’m used to driving, with the exception of F1 cars, the aerodynamic load is pretty impressive and the car is great. So it should get very interesting once everything is in order.

Kevin Magnussen: “I’m really impressed by this new car. We haven’t really had any major problems, which is always a danger when you use a car for the first time. I’ve been really blown away by the power and braking. We strung a number of laps together so that we could learn more. I know Carlin well, as I work with them in F3. The method is the same, which helps you to progress more quickly.”